Some venture capitalists in Silicon Valley are still hesitant to invest in the cannabis industry, and at least one well-known investor blamed the industry’s current image for the lack of participation.
Lisa Suennen, an influential investor in San Francisco and managing partner of Venture Valkyrie Consulting, said some tech investors aren’t sure if “there are good entrepreneurs in the space, as opposed to grown-up stoners.”
“It’s one thing when the CEO shows up in an ironic hipster T-shirt,” Suennen said. “Quite another when that is their actual wardrobe.”
Perhaps the most famous snub by Silicon Valley came in 2010, when Weedmaps co-founder Justin Hartfield pitched billionaire Tim Draper, who initially seemed interested. Draper eventually bowed out, telling Hartfield, “I am going to chicken out.”
But other tech investors are starting to come around. Zynga co-founder Tom Bollich is now CEO of Surna, a Colorado-based cannabis fund. According to Troy Dayton of the ArcView Group, Adam Wiggins, who co-founded San Francisco cloud company Heroku, is “looking closely” at cannabis.